A High Schooler’s Guide to Breaking Into Corporate America

Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

1. There are companies that want you. You just have to find them.

Not every company likes cutting through red tape. Usually, larger companies (300+ employees) have more rigid hiring policies and are less likely to bend the rules. However, some smaller companies can afford to invest in their employees on a more personal level.

2. Don’t go through the front door.

Instead of submitting your resume through online job application sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, reach out proactively. Send personalized emails to executives and hiring managers explaining why you like their company and why they should take a chance on you.

3. Don’t look at job postings.

If a job has been posted, it’s off the table. College graduates and professionals with previous work experience are already competing for it; your goal is to provide a unique value proposition before everyone else shows up.

4. Include a portfolio.

Unfortunately, employers still view a college degree as a reflection of your competence and merit. In reality, most people learn relevant skills on the job and a degree is little more than a cheap insurance policy. However, the stigma against college opt-outs is still widely held.

5. Be either hyper specific or hyper vague in your resume.

If you collected X amount of signatures for X campaign, be specific. If you won X award for X reasons or built X mechanism to improve X metric by X percent, be specific.

6. Be prepared to make sacrifices

Realize that employers are assuming a greater risk by hiring you over an “accredited” candidate. One way you can give them more confidence is by having skin in the game yourself; offering to start as an unpaid intern, for example, shifts the risk to you. Worst case scenario, you’ll have corporate work experience to add to your resume even if they don’t hire you.



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Financial independence and personal fulfilment without a college degree